For those of you who don’t read Kotaku, here’s the link to the article. In short, Hearst Publications Group, which owns UGO, has bought the 1up Network from Ziff Davis. They then canceled EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly, their only and flagship gaming magazine) canceled just about all of their podcasts, and then fired most of the staff, including James Mielke (I can’t believe I spelled that right), Shane Bettenhausen, Skip Pfister, Ryan O’Donnell, among 30 other staffers and the GameVideos team, in a purge that I might call, and will call, Stalin-esque.
Aside from the tragedy of Vampire William Randolph Hearst draining the life blood out of the 1up network, leaving only a lifeless husk, hopefully there will be a lesson to be learned from this, but a costly one. You see, people in the business of reviewing film and reviewing video games like to talk about how different reviewing games and reviewing movies are, but they actually have a great deal in common, in certain respects.
If you read Slashdot.org, you may have caught this news story. In short, Nielsen Media Research sent a DMCA takedown order to Wikipedia, asking them to takedown a series of catagory boxes and templates for organizing radio and TV stations by city, stating that it infringed on their copyright on the practice of organizing television and radio stations by market. Consequently, the Wikipedia foundation was forced to delete all the relevant templates, leaving the userbase scrambling to find a way to organize media articles without getting sued.
To be frank, the actions of Neilsen Media Research are a crock of bullshit. The copyright in question is no better, and in fact is almost worse then some of the bogus submarine patents that you read about weekly, and the copyright in question essentially gives the Nielsen essentially a monopoly on the classification and organization of broadcast stations by geography.
In the first decade of the 21st century, the Video Games Industry has found itself facing a lot of political pressure from Washington DC, as well as the politicians of various state legislatures. The Hot Coffee controversy started a wave of game legislation against the game industry, with many states passing legislature to impede the sale of video games that contained violent content (the levels of violence being legislated against varied from state-to-state).
Rising up against this sea of foes, was the Entertainment Software Association, then lead by Doug Lowenstein. Thanks to the dues paid by member corporations, the ESA was able to file suit in multiple state courts to block the aforementioned laws, and in many cases get them declared unconstitutional. Further, as an outgrowth of the ESA’s sibling organization, the Entertainment Merchant’s Association (or EMA came the Entertainment Consumer’s organization, or ECA, lead by Hal Halpin, which sought to bring a voice for those who play video games and other electronic media, so that someone is fighting for them. Among one of the ECA’s first actions was to join with GamePolitics.com, a blog that tracked attacks against gaming in the public sector, from politicians, and from the news media.
The reason I’m bring up this melodramatic alphabet soup is that there is dissension in the ranks – specifically between the ECA, and the ESA – and the ECA didn’t start it.